Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra on Wednesday refused to speculate on whether the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting would be able to come out with a joint communique in the backdrop of widening differences between the West and Russia on the Ukraine conflict. The two-day G20 foreign ministers meeting begins this evening and the main discussions will take place on Thursday. ”It would not be correct to prejudge the outcome of the meeting,” Kwatra said at a press conference. Given the developing situation of Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is expected it will be a point of discussion at the meeting, he said.
He also said that the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on economic and development cooperation is an important issue for us. The meeting, he said, will deliberate on multilateralism, food and energy security, development cooperation and counter-terrorism.
It will be one of largest gathering of foreign ministers to be hosted by any G20 presidency, Kwatra said.
He said around 40 delegations, including 13 from international organisations, are expected to participate in the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting.
G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting ‘one of the largest gatherings’ under India’s Presidency
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, France’s Catherine Colonna, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Germany’s Annalena Baerbock and British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly are among those attending the India-hosted meeting.
A number of foreign ministers of non-G20 countries, including that of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, are also attending the meet following India’s invitation as guests.
The foreign ministers are also likely to discuss ways to deal with falling economic growth, increasing inflation, lower demands for goods and services as well as increasing prices of food, fuel and fertilisers. However, the major flashpoint between the West and Russia-China combine is expected to be on the Ukraine conflict even as India is set to make all out efforts to bring out a joint statement following the crucial meeting. Russia on Sunday alleged that the G20 finance ministers’ meeting in Bengaluru ended without a joint communique because of the ”confrontational” approach towards Moscow by the ”collective West” over the situation in Ukraine. The G20 meeting of finance ministers and Central Bank governors on Saturday was unable to come out with a joint communique following opposition by Russia and China on making any references to the war in Ukraine.